4 Scroll Saw Portraits

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Project by Bryan Cramer posted 03-07-2013 06:13 PM 2784 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
4 Scroll Saw Portraits
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This is my most recent scroll work I did for a client who requested the pattern. She wanted it to be cut out of hickory. I made the matching frame with hickory and walnut. To cut the image I used a #3 and a #5 spiral blades. I stack cut three other blanks and cut four images at the same time (each was 1/8” thick for a total of 1/2”). The other woods are maple, cherry, and (not pictured) red oak I cut with my band saw to 1/8”. I made all the frames that match the portrait wood. The pattern came from Old Griz Scroll Art and the frame idea was in an American Woodworker magazine. I finished the frames with spray lacquer and the portrait wood was oiled with boiled linseed oil. The black backing was picture frame matting purchased at a local hobby store. It is rigid like cardboard so it eliminated the need for plywood support. I covered the back with butcher paper to prevent dust from getting inside.

Fun Facts: 319 entry points; 22 hours of scroll saw cutting; 4 hours to make frames

Note: I made this project in high school. If you are looking for my business website with all of my latest work here is the link .

-- Bryan Cramer at Great Plains Design Works

10 comments so far

View Hawaiilad's profile


3379 posts in 4235 days

#1 posted 03-07-2013 08:47 PM

And after all the time spent making those, you have a great looking piece of art. I remember all the cutting I did with a saber saw long before I heard of a scroll saw back in the 70’s. Sure is much easier these days isn’t it.

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View daves1's profile


188 posts in 3980 days

#2 posted 03-07-2013 11:21 PM

Very Nice! Is there a secret to using spiral blades? I seem to have a hard time with them while trying to cut out designs.

View christopheralan's profile


1126 posts in 4934 days

#3 posted 03-07-2013 11:48 PM

Great job! Spiral blades are the way to go.

-- christopheralan

View Bryan Cramer's profile

Bryan Cramer

39 posts in 3124 days

#4 posted 03-08-2013 04:01 AM

Hawaiidad; all the long hours paid off when I sell them for $250 a piece!

daves; here is what I recommend: practice; practice; practice; you wll be able to predict the way they cut better they need a lot of tension; but not so much they break slow your saw speed down let the blade do the work, don’t force them flatten the ends so the blade clamp can grip them
I get my Flying Dutchman blades from Mikes Workshop

-- Bryan Cramer at Great Plains Design Works

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3390 days

#5 posted 03-11-2013 02:30 PM

Wonderful portraits! Great attention to details. Frame is beautiful and the finish is amazing.


View dee2's profile


277 posts in 3550 days

#6 posted 03-16-2013 02:05 PM

Great work on the scrolling. Those spiral blades take some getting used to, but are faster on certain projects. Over the years I’ve learned to make multiples at the same time. Even for other projects, with machines set up, why not do more than one. I found scrolling is almost easier when stack cutting.
You’re work is amazing. Good luck this fall at college, great to hear you are following your passion.
I like the fun facts also.

-- Dee2, OH Aromatherapy....fresh cut wood!!

View SawTooth1953's profile


349 posts in 4520 days

#7 posted 03-17-2013 08:28 AM


Very nice scroll saw workpieces and frames. I am happy that you set your price as you did. While there is no way to know what price is “correct”, I am merely referring to the facts that, 1- way too many people would have set their price for what you did at something pitifully too low, and 2- way too many people are willing to buy workpieces like that only when the price is pitifully low. The customer willing to pay that price is demonstrating respect for your talent and your time.
Whenever I show my woodwork to anyone, it is inevitable that they are curious how long it took to make it. I never know what to say. How did you track the time you spent?


-- Spence in Skokie, IL

View Bryan Cramer's profile

Bryan Cramer

39 posts in 3124 days

#8 posted 03-18-2013 12:42 AM

Saw Tooth;
I track my time in a notebook by looking at a clock when I start; write down the time; then when I stop I write down the stop time and date. I figure the time lapsed and add the entries up.

-- Bryan Cramer at Great Plains Design Works

View SawTooth1953's profile


349 posts in 4520 days

#9 posted 03-18-2013 05:21 AM

Makes sense. I never stop to record that stuff.
I assume the 22hr “scrolling” time includes pattern research, wood prep, drilling holes, sawing, sanding, finishing, etc. Now that I think about it, if you didn’t stack cut that, you’d have only got ~$10/hr and that isn’t enough! But you got a respectable fee to cover materials and something for the time spent. The profits will come when you sell the others.

-- Spence in Skokie, IL

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4081 days

#10 posted 11-03-2016 12:25 PM

Bryan, these are nice plaques beautifully done.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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